So You Want To Make Lampwork Beads

Some helpful (I hope) advice

Melinda Melanson

You have ogled and drooled over the beautiful lampwork beads on ebay and in Galleries. Now you can't resist the call of the glass anymore and get the idea that I can make those.  It is really not difficult to get started, so let me throw a few ideas and tips at you to help you on your journey. The following is purely my opinions and other people's opinions will vary.

Before purchasing anything, you must decide on a location to set-up your torch and equipment. This location must be somewhat flameproof for you to work as safe as possible. In most areas, if not all, the fuel tanks must be kept outside. Also if you rent your home, you may need to get permission from your landlord. Everyone's situation is different and I am by no means an expert on the subject, so you will have to do some research to set-up your torch as safe and legal as possible. A garage is a great place to work.

Now you must decide what kind of money you plan to spend on this venture. The least expensive way to get started is with the HotHead or Quiet Torch. I have no experience with the Quiet Torch so from here on out I will only mention the HotHead torch. These torchs only use propane or high purity Brazing fuel and do not require an oxygen tank or concentrator to melt glass. They have air holes in the side of the torch and draw air from the room to help them burn cleaner and hotter.

You can also start up with a Oxygen/Propane system, this system cost much more money, and has some additional safety concerns. The larger Oxygen/Propane system will melt glass faster, and you can melt the  hard,  Borosilicate glass. Overall, if you are sure you want to continue bead making, have the budget and have somewhere to set up the additional equipment needed, then the Oxygen/Propane system is a more versatile system. That said, there is nothing wrong with the Hothead torch, I have used one for 3 years, and a great deal of lampwork artist use the Hothead torch for many years happily, and never feel the need to get a bigger torch. There are HotHead Torch users who produce absolutely stunning beads and people are surprised when they hear the beads were made on a HotHead torch
Copyright 2003
Melinda Melanson